One of the toughest things for a parent is to see their child struggling. And the struggle is real when a college graduate seeks employment and is unable to do so, whether it’s because of a lack of work experience or another reason. To address how parents can guide their young adults toward professional success, career coach and author Beth Hendler-Grunt visits for an interview. Her new book helps make the next great step from college to career easier for families.
Disclosure: This sponsored post addresses the challenges of graduates trying to find jobs and how parents can best support them.
Interview with Beth Hendler-Grunt
For parents who want to help their post-college kids successfully find employment, Beth penned The Next Great Step: The Parents’ Guide to Launching Your New Grad Into a Career. With experience helping businesses for 20 years implement strategies to reach their goals, she now wants to help parents do the same for their kids. She is also a mom of a new college grad and a college sophomore.
The post-college job world is much different than when many parents were actively looking for jobs as young adults. So, the written guide provides a roadmap for guiding their recent grads from college to career.
Is this really a problem? Yes. Recent data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reveals an unsettling trend. Unemployment rates for recent college graduates have been higher than that for all workers every month since the start of 2021. I asked Beth Hendler-Grunt to explain the issues.
Why do you think so many new college grads are jobless?
Many college grads have difficulty landing jobs for a few reasons. There is so much effort put into getting into college. Many assume that it will be easy or that employers will just “find” them in the college environment.
Also, many college students are not truly prepared to compete for a job when graduating. They think that applying online will yield results, but often it does not. They have the skills that employers want, but they struggle to articulate their value and share why a company should consider them for a role.
Why is the transition from college to career so difficult today?
Students and new graduates are optimistic when they begin the job or internship search. They’ll say things like, “Landing a job offer won’t be that hard,” or, “People say it’s a great job market, and I’ve been told I have a great resume. I’m going to submit it and hope to hear back.”
The truth is it’s much more difficult than anticipated. The market is competitive, and employers have high expectations for candidates. Employers want someone who is confident, clear in their direction, and knows what value they can offer to a company.
Many candidates are not ready for this. They are easily intimidated and question their own ability.
There’s a disconnect, for sure. In your book title, what do you mean by ‘the next great step’?
The next great step infers the milestone in the life for a young adult as they transition into adulthood. It can be great, or it can be difficult. But the goal is that we help make the process easier and ultimately more manageable. This can yield a great outcome for the job they desire.
Who is the book The Next Great Step intended for?
I wrote this book because I have spoken with hundreds of parents who want to see their child achieve career success after college but are not sure how to guide them. Many have not looked for a job in over 20 years.
This book helps parents to guide their child to land the job they desire. And as a result, it helps young adults as well! This book shares our proven, simple, step-by-step approach that shows what it takes for your grad to land their first internship, job, and beyond.
Is part of the problem a disconnect between companies and college grads?
Many grads try to get a job by doing things piecemeal. They work on a resume or apply online. Very often, they lack clarity on their own skills or how to bring them to an employer.
There is a disconnect between what they are saying and what an employer wants to hear. We solve that by helping them to build a strategy that answers two questions:
- To know what skills they have can bring to an employer, and
- Who they are going to bring their skills to in a very focused way
So, when someone says to them, “tell me about yourself,” they know exactly what they’re going to say, AND they’re applying to those companies that can really leverage their best talents.
Do you think colleges ought to play a role in the transition from getting a degree to finding a job?
Many colleges and universities do not devote enough resources to career services. A well-known large public university, for example, only had 16 advisors for 20,000 undergraduates. That’s one advisor for every 1250 students.
Universities don’t invest in career services the same way they might be willing to invest in a new stadium or a recreational activity center. Most schools feel their only job is to educate students, not to get them a job after graduation. Life skills, such as networking, are not part of the curriculum.
Furthermore, the people in the career services positions that do exist have often been doing the job for thirty years. It may be hard for them to give relevant and personalized advice to students today or for the student to relate to someone of that age.
Universities, community colleges, and technical schools should be doing a much better job of lining up job shadowing opportunities and mentorships for their students with professionals in various fields and industries. There is a huge disconnect between what life is like as a student and what it becomes when a young adult starts working full-time. And only 4/10 students use career services.
I agree that mentoring programs and job shadowing have a lot of value. What advice would you give a grad who can’t find a job in their field?
Here are 4 steps for grads to jump-start their search:
- List 3 hard skills you are most competent at. For example, research, writing, and problem-solving. Next to each of these skills, write down one example where you demonstrated that skill.
- Identify 5 companies that you are interested in working at.
- Identify 10 people who have a job that you want to learn more about.
- Send an email or LinkedIn connection note to those 10 people expressing interest in learning more about their role.
This process will enable them to get smarter about the industry and make connections with people who are doing the job they want.
That’s a great starting point! What do you hope readers will gain from The Next Great Step?
I speak directly to parents and share that companies are hiring and landing a post-college job is possible when grads develop and implement the right strategies. I understand what employers expect and share secrets from the other side of hiring in this new book.
Get your copy of The Next Great Step
Get The Next Great Step book today. It not only benefits parents directly but also can be a valuable tool for HR departments, as well as financial advisors and mental health professionals who help young adults.
It is a No. 1 Bestseller on Amazon in a range of categories, including Job Markets and Advice and Career Development Counseling. In addition to Amazon, the book by Beth Hendler-Grunt is available online at Walmart, Target, and Barnes & Noble.
Top photo: Meet Beth Hendler-Grunt. Photo taken by Lee Seidenberg.